Marietta Safetytown ready to educate, entertain kids

Photo by Janelle Patterson Cheryl Cook describes the upgrades the Samuel R. Cook Safetytown will see this year during the Marietta Noon Rotary lunch Thursday, noting upgraded blacktop and road paintings at Harmar Elementary.

MARIETTA –For the first time in 42 years, Safetytown is going bilingual in Marietta.

“This year for the first time we have enrolled a child who speaks only Spanish,” said Cheryl Cook, widow of the late Samuel R. Cook, whose name flies on all of the Safetytown banners in Marietta. “Abigail Worstell, a long-time volunteer with us, is going to be the one-on-one volunteer with this child.”

At a lunch meeting for Marietta Noon Rotary Thursday, Cook said she’s thankful that Worstell is a former Safetytown kid, and like the many volunteers the program draws from each year, has the lessons ingrained in her and ready to share.

The program draws life lessons from law enforcement, firefighters, city crews and school teachers to get rising kindergarten students ready to be a bit more independent before the school year.

“That’s an age where you’re just starting to branch out, maybe play with the neighbor’s dog or walk across the street by yourself, you’re more curious,” explained Colleen Cook, daughter of Samuel Cook.

And volunteers guiding the children through the free program sponsored by the Marietta Noon Rotary Club often go back year after year for setup and tear-down, plus middle school students help chaperone and run activities with the young crowd.

Two other past volunteers, recent graduates of Marietta High School who were awarded the Safetytown Scholarship of $1,000 each this year, were also formerly Safetytown kids before their kindergarten years.

“Safetytown taught me how to come out of my shell, and I’m thankful for how it’s helped me figure out what I want to be,” said Carly Getter, 18, of Marietta, as she thanked the Marietta Noon Rotary Club for awarding her with one of the scholarships.

Getter and Kaithlyn Hensel, also 18, joined the service club to hear about the volunteers working behind the scenes this week and over the next two to prepare for the two-week program.

“There are no better people to teach safety in all its forms than our first responders, teachers and the volunteers we get,” said Colleen Cook, also a past-president of the club.

Ted Mahone and Dave Archer were also lauded alongside the generosity of the Marietta City Schools district as the safety program this year also has a new blacktop, with fresh paint for the outdoor miniature town used in the lessons.

“We start unpacking the buildings around 6:30 each day and get those out,” said Mahone. “And it will be much easier this year with the new trailer The Pioneer Group built for us lower to the ground.”

Safetytown will begin Monday and will run through June 27 at Harmar Elementary School with graduation attended by family and friends to be held June 27 at 7 p.m. at Marietta High School.